The Miami Heat host the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night in a matchup of two Southeast Division foes. Miami is expected to debut Jimmy Butler, who missed the first three games of the season due to the birth of his daughter. Butler should provide an instant jolt into an offense that's already one of the most productive in the NBA. Atlanta, meanwhile, is riding on the success of Trae Young. Young was named one of two NBA Players of the Week after scoring 38 and 39 points in the Hawks' first two outings, both wins.
Young will go up against another young talented guard in Miami's Kendrick Nunn. Nunn is coming off a 25-point performance in the Heat's most recent game, a loss at Minnesota. Young and Nunn highlight the youth between these two teams. Both rosters consist of a lot of recent draft picks who still need time to develop to the pace and physicality of the NBA.
Hawks look to start 3-0The Atlanta Hawks have been the Trae Young show in the early going. The 21-year old currently leads the NBA in scoring average after dropping 38 points on the opening night against Detroit and responding with 39 versus Orlando. Young's deep three-pointer to put Atlanta up five points on the Magic with 25 seconds to go showed off the Oklahoma product's rising clutch gene. Young can't maintain the pace he's on for much longer, and the Hawks have to do a better job of distributing the wealth. As it stands now, Young accounts for over 28% of the team's points.
The Hawks' starting five won't blow anyone away. Cam Reddish, John Collins and De'Andre Hunter are all serviceable forwards who still have years to go in their respective development. Center is unquestionably Atlanta's weakest position on the floor: starter Alex Len and role player Damian Jones are averaging just 7.5 points and eight rebounds per game collectively. Atlanta has chosen to bring Jabari Parker off the bench so far. The former No. 2 overall pick may need a few more weeks adjusting to Atlanta's system.
With so many wings, it's not surprising that the Hawks have done a great job defending the perimeter. Atlanta held Detroit to 27 percent shooting from the outside and then forced Orlando into shooting 18 percent from downtown. Tight perimeter defense could serve Atlanta well facing Miami, who enters with one of the top three-point shooting percentages in the NBA.
Heat hope to stay hotThe Miami Heat don't have a superstar on their roster like many of the NBA's heavy hitters. Instead, Miami is out to prove that teams can still win with balanced production. And the Heat are nothing if not balanced. Six players average double digits in points so far, led by Kendrick Nunn's 22.3 points per game. Oh, and that doesn't include Jimmy Butler. The Heat shooting effectively from behind the perimeter at a 38.8 percent clip. Miami is at its best when it's aggressively trying to outscore the opponent.
Despite the Heat lacking big names, they do have a formidable starting rotation. Justise Winslow is capable of triple-double numbers, as he averages 19 points, 9.3 rebounds, and a team-high 6.7 assists so far. Rookie shooting guard Tyler Herro gives Miami a potentially elite three-point shooter, though he will likely be supplanted in the starting five by Butler. Seven-foot forward Meyers Leonard and center Bam Adebayo provide plenty of space down low. Look for Miami to try to exploit Atlanta's interior defense with those two.
It's hard to take the Heat's first three results at face value playing without one of their best players in Jimmy Butler. However, defense seems to be an early concern with this group. The Heat have allowed 114.3 points per game so far. Turnovers could also be a problem -- Miami committed 23 of them in their loss to Minnesota.
- Heat are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 Tuesday games.
- Heat are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Hawks are 5-0 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Hawks are 4-0 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Hawks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.